Currently, the Czech Republic is among a handful of European countries that requires mandatory vaccinations for children.
It’s also one of even fewer countries (among a list that includes Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, and Ukraine) that bars non-vaccinated children from attending state educational facilities such as nurseries, preschools and kindergartens.
Still, cases of preventable diseases such as measles have seen a drastic rise in the Czech Republic across recent years.
Now, lawmakers are currently preparing legislation to further encourage parents to vaccinate their children.
According to Lidovky.cz, the Czech Ministry of Health is currently preparing an amendment to the Act on Public Health Protection that would extend the scope of the facilities that non-vaccinated children are barred from attending.
Under the new amendment, non-vaccinated children would not only be turned away from state-run early educational facilities, but also children’s groups and related private facilities.
Lawmakers argue that while children may be protected in state-run locations, they are potentially put at risk in other common facilities that children attend, such as summer camps and private sports groups.
The new amendment is expected to be submitted to the government in the third quarter, and take effect (if passed) by the end of the year.
Currently, the penalty levied on parents for not vaccinating their children is a fine of up to 10,000 crowns, which, according to a 2015 ruling, may not be enforced when the parents’ religious beliefs are taken into consideration.
While some argue that this is not enough of a discouragement for parents, others such as the family organization Rozalio claim any penalties for mandatory vaccinations violate parents’ rights.